The Lake House

Written by Kate Morton
Review by Maggi de Rozario

This family mystery, written in the very popular two-era format, begins in 1933 with the young Alice Edevane excited at the midsummer party which is to be held at Loeanneth House in Cornwall, where she lives with her parents Eleanor and Anthony, her sisters, and her baby brother, Theo.  Alice longs to be a writer, has fallen in love for the first time, and records her thoughts in her journal. However, the party is eclipsed by tragedy when baby Theo disappears, and her distraught parents close the house and leave. The mystery remains unsolved and the house falls into ruin.

In 2003 Sadie, a young policewoman staying with her grandfather in Cornwall whilst on gardening leave after a particularly difficult case, literally stumbles upon Loeanneth whilst out running. She learns of the mystery, and in order to occupy her mind, decides to try to solve it. Her path then crosses with Alice, now a successful but formidable writer, and family secrets which have been kept under wraps for the previous seventy years are gradually uncovered and the truth about Theo’s disappearance resolved.

At almost 600 pages this is a very long novel. Kate Morton is an extremely able writer, and the characters and scenery are well drawn. However, the two time-frame scenarios are somewhat fragmented, and the story is pulled together by a series of somewhat unlikely coincidences. Although a perfectly acceptable read, the book could have done with some serious pruning.  As a mystery it lacks sufficient intrigue to keep the reader truly engaged. In my view, not of the same calibre as Kate Morton’s other novels.